Oct 02

Let the great space knight leaf hat rifle future helmet hunt men in underwear tickle contest... begin!!Click for full image

Scott B’s Art Direction: I know the cover is late, so just give me whatever clip art you have lying around that looks vaguely science-fictional. Guy In Huge Metallic Helmet, brilliant. Old-Timey Person In Armor, Old-Timey Person With Gun, sure, great. Wait, underwear-clad wrestlers, really? You know I’ve warned you about that more than once. Well, I guess we don’t have time to redo it…
Published 1971

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 8.63 out of 10)

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27 Responses to “Five-Odd”

  1. THX 1138 Says:

    Did Matthew Smith design book covers before programming computer games?

  2. L.B. Says:

    Personally, if I were Amis, McIntosh, Schmitz, or Wallace, I’d be grateful not to be mentioned on the cover of this book. Is that John the Baptist on a cabbage leaf?

  3. Tat Wood Says:

    We used to do collages like this when the art-teacher was ill (hung over) and the cover-teacher had no idea what else to gt us to do. It’s nice to see one not stuck on a fridge door.

  4. Joachim Says:

    Better than this Coronet edition which I have (under a variant title: Possible Tomorrows)

    (perhaps I should submit this one to the site….. hmm….)

  5. Tom Noir Says:

    Space-helmet-dude peeking up from the bottom needs to be on EVERY sci-fi cover.

  6. A.R.Yngve Says:

    A cover that’s odd to the fifth power — not just odd, but Five-Odd…

  7. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Well, it was 1971. The whole culture was coming down hard after a decade of drugs. This is just one example of the artistic hangover that followed.

  8. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the worst book cover of all time, narrowly beating the cover of How To Photograph Feces.

  9. Scott B Says:

    Joachim, you’ve been beaten to it:

    And yeah, that one’s worse.

    BTW anyone know what that thing is to the left of the gunman? Looks like a giant pot-lid hanging off the side of a very thin high-rise apartment building?

  10. Book Wench Says:

    How many more minutes have we got ’til we need to submit a title?

  11. Jaouad Says:

    Five of Isaac Asimov’s Fabulous Novels of Tomorrow!

    (Also: Four Other Great Science Fiction Authors! Who Are Just Not Great Enough To Be Mentioned On The Cover. Actually, We’re Not Really Sure What They’re Doing Here In The First Place.)

  12. Tat Wood Says:

    @Jaouad, it’s the other way around: they’re saying it’s by Isaac Asimov, plus some good writers. One’s got a knighthood, but for the kind of readership who’d buy a book with a cover like this, and for whom ‘edited by Groff Cronklin’ is a recommendation, Dr Sideys is the main draw. A contemporary UK edition might have had ‘Kingsley Amis, and supporting artists’ and a cover by Bruce Pennington showing an insectoid steam train in a coral desert, again. Instead, Coronet went for the routine chewing-gum ball with eyes and a power-drill going through it and kept quiet about whose stories were inside.
    Five novels in a paperback that size: the type must be so tiny you’d wreck your eyesight. Which makes the cover-art almost irrelevant.

  13. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Whether drugs were involved in making this cover or not — I still can’t understand how someone, ANYONE, thought “Five-Odd” was a good idea for a title.

    Perhaps two titles got confused? (The same publisher released a book about a new horse-betting system… with the mixed-up title SCIENCE FICTION PANTHEON.)

  14. chuffmunky Says:

    This could be a still from an abandoned side project by Terry Gilliam, his animated version of Star Wars

  15. Phil Says:

    Surely some kind of swear-phrase. As in “Don’t you tell me to five-odd.”

    I gave this a modestly low rating, but the more I look at it the more I think it’s a pretty good show, sir.

  16. anon Says:

    I count seven.

  17. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    I think I see 8.

  18. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Wow, imagine that. Five novels each co-written by Isaac Asimov and four other writers. That must have been some wild collaboration exercise. I think it adds up to twenty-five authors!

  19. fred Says:

    I am going to go ahead and pretend one of the wrestlers is an Azimovian Richard Blade stuck inside the most boring Blade story imaginable.

  20. Bibliomancer Says:

    I don’t see how you can fit five novels into that skinny paperback. Unless you use a really really tiny font

  21. B. Chiclitz Says:

    I think that guy hiding in the leaf is Henery VIII. Not sure what that means, but it is odd at least.

    (Note: orthography courtesy of Herman’s Hermits)

  22. tor mented Says:

    “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
    “To talk of many things:
    Of rocks and blocks and stovepot lids
    Of cabbages on kings.
    And what’s the deal with Helmet Guy
    And does he count as tings?”

  23. Tat Wood Says:

    All this time and none of us went for the obvious Steve McGarrett joke.

  24. Mellie M. Says:

    I agree with Tom Noir: the little space-helmet guy needs to be on every sci-fi cover. Or an Internet meme. He needs captions.

    I am also a fan of the Underwear Men. It’s cute, the way they poke each other in the armpit.

  25. GSS ex-noob Says:

    The cover’s late because someone fell asleep watching Monty Python. All the clip art Gilliam cut for being “too silly” is here. Along with way too much white — er, yellow — space. (Do we have a “yellow” tag?)

    Groff (WTF?) gets equal billing with Isaac, and the other authors get no mention at all. The empty space has plenty of room for their names. Maybe they got a look at this artwork and asked not to be featured.

    Round thing on the left appears to be part of (not entire) one of those old computer tapes which were always spinning around in sci-fi movies and TV to let you know “This is a computer, look how futuristic and technical we are.” But it’s just the empty spool, no tape, so it seems to signify “We olde-tymey people don’t take out the garbage.”

    In the background, above Helmet Guy and below Geometric Stuff, are those two roly-polys? (wood lice) And everyone’s on the surface of the moon.

    Previous cover was less risible, though funky-fonted:

    First British version dull but not offensive.
    Second British version seen earlier and is scarier.

    @Tom: Helmet Guy forever! Hope it’s bullet-proof; Gun Guy seems to be shooting in his general direction.

    Like @B’mancer, I don’t know how 5 novels, or even novellas fit into one paperback.

    @Tor: Bravo. Good Poetry, Sir!

    @Tat: I think that’s McGarrett and Danno (current versions) standing on the blocks.

  26. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @Bibliomancer—maybe they’re haiku novels.

    I don my helmet
    Below the yellow sky glow
    Small armpits tickle

  27. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Once again, I’ve found another book on the new menace: MERMAIDS.
    (attn. Rachel)

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